After the Senate Republicans blinked by delaying the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh so that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could testify against him, she decided to use that leverage to ask for the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh first. Predictably, the GOP pushed back on this, as it would likely mean the end of Kavanaugh’s chances. But after a two day standoff, negotiations have now begun – and it looks like Ford may have found a backdoor to bring the FBI into the mix.
Some pundits on television spent the past few days predicting a doomsday scenario in which the Republicans refused to have the FBI investigate, Dr. Ford refused to testify, and the Republicans then magically confirmed Kavanaugh. But as Palmer Report explained at the time, this was never a possibility. Ford has already shown herself to be too smart and savvy to hand the GOP an easy win, and the GOP has already shown that it’s afraid of the backlash that would occur if it tries to move forward without her.
Sure enough, Ford informed the committee today that she’s willing to testify next week, but not on Monday, and that she’s seeking “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.” Now we’ll see what kind of terms the Republican-controlled committee makes as a counteroffer. The key aspect of Ford’s new letter is the revelation that she’s reported the death threats against her to the FBI, which would have jurisdiction to investigate these threats, without needing the approval of the GOP or the White House.
In other words, on at least some level, the FBI is already on the case. Will the FBI use the death threats against Dr. Ford as an excuse to investigate the attempted rape accusation that she’s made against Brett Kavanaugh? We’ll see. Kavanaugh is not a participant in the death threats, but he stands accused of having committed the original crime that resulted in others making the threats.
It’s important to keep in mind that if the FBI does begin investigating Brett Kavanaugh, his nomination is toast, and his life is likely toast as well. Whether or not the FBI can legally prove the attempted rape charge, it could nail Kavanaugh for lying to the FBI (a felony), or even for the perjury he committed last week, or anything else in his increasingly shady background. Ford appears to be using this specter to force Kavanaugh to drop out. By bringing in the FBI to investigate the death threats, she’s one step closer – and Kavanaugh is surely sweating it more than ever.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report